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Jandd Extreme Front Rack vs. Surly Front Nice Rack

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Jandd Extreme Front Rack vs. Surly Front Nice Rack

Old 10-15-07, 11:16 AM
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I922sParkCir
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Jandd Extreme Front Rack vs. Surly Front Nice Rack

What should I get for a Trek 520 to carry a 15-20 lbs back pack? I'm looking at the Jandd Extreme Front Rack ($60) and the Surly Front Nice Rack ($130). I like the Jandd because it's longer (looks good for a backpack), cheaper and lighter (being aluminum), but the Surly is stronger (steel), and people tell me it's great.

I need to switch from a rear rack because I'm noticing some stabillity problems.

Thank You All,
-Jai

Last edited by I922sParkCir; 10-15-07 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 10-15-07, 11:35 AM
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What kind of load (big and bulk, small and heavy) and what kind of stability problems? I carried a mess bag strapped to a rear rack for a year and the only issues I had with it were that I had gotten a seatpost mounted, quick-release rack that would swing if I took a turn too fast. Getting rid of that rack solved the stability problems.
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Old 10-15-07, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by joelpalmer View Post
What kind of load (big and bulk, small and heavy) and what kind of stability problems?
The more weight on the back rack, the more flimsy it feels. I weigh 185 lbs, with the rack ,maybe that's a little to much on the back tire.

-Jai
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Old 10-15-07, 12:09 PM
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You could probably get the surly for $85 or so at bike island.
The Surly seems to have a much more flexible mounting system, and it is wider (good for mtb and 29er forks). The Jandd will not mount on my mtb fork without significant bending. It fits my cyclocross fork perfectly, and would work for a road bike fork that I have. I hear that the surly has a huge # of parts, so it may take a while to mount. Then again, many of my racks require a trip to the hardware store and some futzing around anyway.
15-20 pounds on the back should be kind of hard to notice when you get moving, so something seems odd here. If you put that weight on the top of the front rack, try to get it as close to the fork as possible.
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Old 10-15-07, 10:27 PM
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did you just buy a new 520? get rid of the stock racks, those are crapola.
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Old 10-16-07, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
did you just buy a new 520? get rid of the stock racks, those are crapola.
I got it used with a stock rack. I know they are pretty crappy.

Last edited by I922sParkCir; 10-16-07 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 10-16-07, 09:12 AM
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you don't need to switch FROM a rear rack, then...you need to switch the rear rack to something a lot more stout. carrying a backpack on a front rack is fraught with problems.

get a nice back rack. Blackburn expeditions are good, Jannd Back is a little more stout, Tubus Cargo lets you haul 90 pounds around.
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Old 10-16-07, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by I922sParkCir View Post
The more weight on the back rack, the more flimsy it feels. I weigh 185 lbs, with the rack ,maybe that's a little to much on the back tire.

-Jai
Sounds like (from other posts) it's the rack. I'm 250 and ride with a heavy load on the back rack without any issues on a couple of different bikes (MTB, 3 speed, roadie). The rack itself does make a big difference. That being said, I know there are some builders who argue that a front mounted load is inherently more stable (CETMA and Kogswell come to mind) so I guess it's a matter of opinion.
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Old 10-16-07, 10:07 AM
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Seriously, stability problems will get worse by switching to a front rack, not better. 20 lbs pulling the steering around is significant, and whilst it's manageable it is absolutely not going to be a better solution than a back rack. Try a better rear rack first. I'm also 250, and I can carry large loads on the back with no problems, but believe me, even with panniers on a lowrider rack, on a bike with slow geometry, 20lbs pulls me all over the place at the front.
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Old 10-16-07, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by joelpalmer View Post
Sounds like (from other posts) it's the rack. I'm 250 and ride with a heavy load on the back rack without any issues on a couple of different bikes (MTB, 3 speed, roadie). The rack itself does make a big difference. That being said, I know there are some builders who argue that a front mounted load is inherently more stable (CETMA and Kogswell come to mind) so I guess it's a matter of opinion.
But aren't those inherently stable racks mounted to the frame, and NOT the fork? I foresee all sorts of stability issues while turning under load if the rack is mounted to the fork.
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Old 10-16-07, 01:53 PM
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Both the CETMA and the Kogswell are fork mounted. Frame mounted porteur racks are really really hard to find - I recall seeing one on here, once. I'm planning to design one for my probably new online utility biking business.
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Old 10-16-07, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by joelpalmer View Post
Sounds like (from other posts) it's the rack. I'm 250 and ride with a heavy load on the back rack without any issues on a couple of different bikes (MTB, 3 speed, roadie). The rack itself does make a big difference. That being said, I know there are some builders who argue that a front mounted load is inherently more stable (CETMA and Kogswell come to mind) so I guess it's a matter of opinion.
How would it be the rack? I don't see how a different design would change how the bike rides. Isn't the weight distrubuted the same? I'm new to this so I realise I'm probably wrong, I just want to understand why.

-Jai
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Old 10-16-07, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
Both the CETMA and the Kogswell are fork mounted. Frame mounted porteur racks are really really hard to find - I recall seeing one on here, once. I'm planning to design one for my probably new online utility biking business.
Hmmm... now I have to think of the bike I saw with the frame mounted porteur rack. I could have sworn it was a Kogswell... still, the one on the front page is pretty hot.
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Old 10-16-07, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
Seriously, stability problems will get worse by switching to a front rack, not better. 20 lbs pulling the steering around is significant, and whilst it's manageable it is absolutely not going to be a better solution than a back rack. Try a better rear rack first. I'm also 250, and I can carry large loads on the back with no problems, but believe me, even with panniers on a lowrider rack, on a bike with slow geometry, 20lbs pulls me all over the place at the front.
I think that front load stability depends a lot on the geometry of the bike. For touring bikes, the general recommendation is to place 60% of your load over the front wheel, and 40% over the back. Dense items go in the front panniers, and bulky, light items go in the rear. Many complain of a front-end shimmy at speed with a heavy load on the rear and an unloaded front wheel. I haven't experienced this personally, but I do find rear-loaded bikes difficult to handle on climbs.

FYI - For point of comparison, I have two bikes with racks - an old centurion road bike with a rear rack, and a Surly LHT with front and rear racks. I regularly carry upwards of 50-lbs on the Surly. I prefer to place the heavy stuff up front. I can only carry about 20-lbs on the centurion before it starts feeling whippy and unstable. The bike does matter...
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Old 10-16-07, 11:44 PM
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A lot of us at Kogswell are interested in carrying weight at the front of our bikes. We like handlebar bags and low rider panniers and the cargo carrying capacity of front racks.

Carrying weight on the rear of a bike is fine too, as long as you're willing to put up with rear wheels that are overloaded.

We aren't. We want stuff up front.

But the problem with front loading is that it affects steering negatively.

That was the case, anyway, until a couple of years ago. Two years ago we started reading what Jan Heine was saying in the pages of Bicycle Quarterly. There he claimed that he had found example of bicycles that had been engineered to carry loads at the front and that did it well.

So we called him and asked him if he'd like to help us design a 'front loader'.

His answer was this: let's make three identical bikes, but make three different forks, each with different amounts of offset (bend) and then test them to see which one carries a front load best.

This was not a shot in the dark. He had looked at and ridden bikes that handled front loads well and he had measured the frames to see how they differed from modern bikes. The only appreciable difference was the amount of fork offset. It seemed like an interesting test and so we made the bikes and tested them.

This photo, taken by Alex Wetmore (thank you, Alex) shows the three bikes during the test:



Modern road bike geometry is fairly standard: a 73 degree head angle and about 45mm of fork offset.

The test bikes had 73 degree head angles and used fork offsets of roughly 55, 65 and 75mm.

And for testing, front racks were attached to all three bikes.

What the testers found was that somewhere in the fork offset range of 65-75mm, front loads become a LOT easier to steer.

The tests were eye-opening for a lot of us. And since then a lot of folks have found ways to re-rake existing fork and the results, in nearly every case, have been bikes that can be front loaded and ridden with ease.

So go ahead and get a rack and load up the front of your bike.

And if it doesn't quite handle the way you'd like, look up re-raking on Google and see what others have done. You may find what you're looking for.

Last edited by Kogswell; 10-18-07 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 10-17-07, 12:01 AM
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just don't get a backpack strap stuck in the spokes!

just plopping a 15-20 pound backpack - and presumably strapping it on with bungies - on the top of a front rack with a deck

is NOT the Original poster's ideal solution to hauling a backpack load around.

Last edited by Bekologist; 10-17-07 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 10-17-07, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
just plopping a 15-20 pound backpack - and presumably strapping it on with bungies - on the top of a front rack with a deck is NOT the Original poster's ideal solution to hauling a backpack load around.
Why not? What is wrong with this?
-Jai
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Old 10-17-07, 08:24 AM
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dude.

listen to your peers. handling issues.

even the kogswell flunkie admits there's stability issues with front racks and loads, he suggests you may want to rerake your fork for stability.

additionally, getting a backpack strap or bungie sucked into your front wheel could cause you to endo. loading a front rig, you need to be careful with all the loose ends.

Just plopping a backpack on a front deck rack IS NOT THE WAY TO DO IT.

GET A BETTER REAR RACK.
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Old 10-17-07, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Kogswell View Post
A lot of us at Kogswell are interested carrying weight at the front of our bikes. We like handlebar bags and low rider panniers and the cargo carrying capacity of front racks.

Carrying weight on the rear of a bike is fine too, as long as you're willing to put up with rear wheels that are overloaded.

We aren't. We want stuff up front.

But the problem with front loading is that it affects steering negatively.

That was the case, anyway, until a couple of years ago. Two years ago we started reading what Jan Heine was saying in the pages of Bicycle Quarterly. There he claimed that he had found example of bicycles that had been engineered to carry loads at the front and that did it well.

So we called him and asked him if he'd like to help us design a 'front loader'.

His answer was this: let's make three identical bikes, but make three different forks, each with different amounts of offset (bend) and then test them to see which one carries a front load best.

This was not a shot in the dark. He had looked at and ridden bikes that handled front loads well and he had measured the frames to see how they differed from modern bikes. The only appreciable difference was the amount of fork offset. It seemed like an interesting test and so we made the bikes and tested them.

This photo, taken by Alex Wetmore (thank you, Alex) shows the three bikes during the test:



Modern road bike geometry is fairly standard: a 73 degree head angle and about 45mm of fork offset.

The test bikes had 73 degree head angles and used fork offsets of roughly 55, 65 and 75mm.

And for testing, front racks were attached to all three bikes.

What the testers found was that somewhere in the fork offset range of 65-75mm, front loads become a LOT easier to steer.

The tests were eye-opening for a lot of us. And since then a lot of folks have found ways to re-rake existing fork and the results, in nearly every case, have been bikes that can be front loaded and ridden with ease.

So go ahead and get a rack and load up the front of your bike.

And if it doesn't quite handle the way you'd like, look up re-raking on Google and see what others have done. You may find what you're looking for.

Your bikes kick @ss!!! When my Surly dies for for the last time I'll give you a ring.
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Old 10-17-07, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
additionally, getting a backpack strap or bungie sucked into your front wheel could cause you to endo. loading a front rig, you need to be careful with all the loose ends.

Just plopping a backpack on a front deck rack IS NOT THE WAY TO DO IT.

GET A BETTER REAR RACK.
Thank you for you concern. It is noted. I will look into a better rear rack for commuting.
As it is right now, I secure my straps and everything else very well.

Back to my other question:
Originally Posted by I922sParkCir View Post
How would it be the rack? I don't see how a different design would change how the bike rides. Isn't the weight distributed the same? I'm new to this so I realise I'm probably wrong, I just want to understand why.
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Old 10-17-07, 01:47 PM
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It's most likely that your rack is flexing around. Also affecting the matter is the placement of the load - putting a rucksack on top of the rack will cause a lot more instability than putting it on a pannier on the side, much lower. I would consider getting one of the rucksack/pannier combination things, so that you can get the benefits of positioning of a pannier, and still throw it on your back when you get to work. On my 700c bikes, I always carry heavy loads on the side, and it doesn't cause me noticeable problems. On my Raleigh 20, I use a rack top briefcase, but I'm perched so far above it that I suspect it works out about the same!
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